As a complex and mysterious organ, the brain has been subject to numerous myths and misunderstandings. As we continue to learn more about its intricate operation with every passing day, we now know enough to dispel some of the most enduring myths. Here are three you may have heard:
MYTH: You only use 10% of your brain.
Imagine our potential if this were true! We actually use virtually all brain regions throughout the day for most activities. Brain stem and lower brain areas help us maintain basic functions (e.g., breathing), while our cortex, or upper brain regions, help us to remember, comprehend, and understand the world around us.
MYTH: Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are just part of aging.
Although age continues to be the biggest risk factor for the development of dementia, the illness is far from inevitable. In fact, research has suggested that health and lifestyle choices can impact our risk of developing dementia in the future, including: physical activity, diet, and management of cardiovascular risk factors, to name a few.
MYTH: Getting an assessment of your thinking skills is only for people with cognitive problems.
A baseline cognitive assessment in people without cognitive difficulty can provide a reference point in the case of major illness or brain injury, and can help your healthcare team focus on specific areas when developing a treatment and prevention plan.
Getting a baseline can be useful for anyone in all phases of health, but is most useful for those interested in early detection, prevention, and maximization of health assessment. Other excellent candidates include: people in their late 50s or older, patients with a family history of neurologic conditions, or those who are involved in activities that put them at increased risk for head injuries through sports or work.
For more information on early detection, prevention and brain health assessment services, please contact your nearest Copeman Healthcare Brain and Psychological Health department.